About the Philippines
is located in Southeast Asia, on the eastern rim of the Asiatic Mediterranean. It is
bounded in the west by the South China Sea; in the east by the Pacific Ocean; in the south
by the Sulu and Celebes Seas; and in the north by the Bashi Channel.
Its capital and main port of entry is Manila. Cebu, which is some
562 kms. to the south of Manila, is the second largest international gateway to the
is an archipelago consisting of 7,100 islands with a total land area of approximately
300,00 square kilometers (almost the size of Arizona). It has three major island groups --
Luzon in the north, Visayas in the middle and Mindanao further down in the south.
population of the Philippines is about 65 million people. Filipinos are basically of
Indo-Malay racial stock, mixed with some Chinese and Spanish ancestry. They are
characteristically friendly, hospitable and educated people, ever mindful of their
responsibilities as workers and citizens of the country. Bred with utmost concern for
their fellow citizens, the Filipino people are always seen united and strong.
||The country has
a tropical climate with two distinct seasons -- wet and dry.
||Filipino is the
national language while English is widely spoken and extensively used in business,
government and schools. There are more than 87 languages and dialects in the country.
rate of the country is about 85%.
||The unit of
currency is the Philippine peso. The rate of the peso to the US dollar has been
fluctuating between P25 to P30 to the US dollar.
History of the Philippines
believe the Philippines dates back to the Paleolithic age. Based on the archaeological
artifacts recovered, Filipino society and culture were fairly developed prior to contacts
with other countries.
Filipinos had commercial
relations early on with China, Indo-China, Malaysia, India and Arab countries. Chinese
silk, porcelain, jars, gold, ivory and beads were traded for wax, bird's nest, teakwood,
rattan, pearls, precious stones and other marine and forest products.
Spanish Colonial Period
Magellan came to the Philippines on March 16, 1521 and claimed the country for the Spanish
crown. A colonial government was established in Manila in 1571. Spain introduced changes
in the political, social and cultural life of the people. One of these is Christianity.
In 1986, the Filipinos staged the first nationalistic revolution
in Asia against the Spaniards. The 1896 Revolution was the culmination of revolts against
Spanish oppression. The death by musketry of Dr. Jose Rizal who led the reform movement
fueled the fires of the revolution.
One June 12, 1898, leaders of the revolution declared the
country a sovereign state and proclaimed the first Republic of the Philippines. Meanwhile,
Spain declared war against the United States over Cuba and was defeated. As an offshoot,
the Philippines was ceded to America by Spain through the Treaty of Paris.
The American Era
Americans, agriculture, commerce and trade rapidly developed. Among the changes they
introduced were: the modernization of transportation and communications, the improvement
of banking and currency, the American system of education, literature, language, arts and
At the outbreak of the Second World War,
Japan occupied the country. In 1945, Americans liberated the country and granted it
independence on July 4, 1946.
|The Republic of
the Philippines was proclaimed on July 4, 1946, with Manuel Roxas as President. Massive
rehabilitation and rebuilding out of the devastation brought about by the war was started.
In 1972, Martial Law was declared by then President Ferdinand
Marcos. Political repression and economic deterioration during the Martial Law years
resulted in the historic "People Power" Revolution on February 25, 1986. This
led to the proclamation of Corazon C. Aquino as President of the Philippines.
Restoration of Democracy
Aquino moved to restore all the democratic institutions in the country. A constitution,
ratified on February 2, 1987, provided for a tripartite system: the Executive; the
Legislative; and the Judiciary. This was the type of government before Marcos declared
Martial Law and adopted a modified parliamentary government. Aquino also restored freedom
of speech, press and assembly.
On June 30, 1992,
Fidel Valdez Ramos became the 12th President of the Philippine Republic. President Ramos,
a hero of the 1986 EDSA uprising, anchors his governance on the twin themes of people
empowerment and global excellence as the engines of economic growth and social equity.
Presidential Form of Government
today is a democratic and republican state with a presidential form of government as
provided under the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Separation of powers are ensured through
checks and balances among the three branches of government: the Executive, represented by
the President and his Cabinet; the Legislative, represented by a Bicameral Congress
composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives; and the Judiciary, with the power
of judicial review.
The executive branch sets
policy directions and implements the laws of the land. The legislature, represented by a
Bicameral Congress with a 24-member Senate and a 250-member House of Representatives, is
the law-making body of government. Judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court and in
other lower courts as established by law.
Constitution provides for a local government code which established a more responsive and
accountable local government structure.
the Philippine Local Government Code, adopted in 1991, instituted a decentralized system
of governance for local government units (LGUs). This allows autonomy for the country's 76
provinces, 60 cities, 1,544 municipalities and 41,825 barangays (smallest LGU).
Under this system, the LGUs can develop their own
socioeconomic base through self-initiative and internally-generated revenue schemes.
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
|One of the
country's uniquely decentralized local governments is the Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao (ARMM). The ARMM was created by law to allow the four provinces of Tawi-Tawi,
Sulu, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao in the southern island of Mindanao to have an
autonomous regional government.
As as autonomous
government unit, the ARMM is authorized to initiate and attract direct foreign investments
for the development and growth of its mainly Muslim population.